Daily NK has learned that the provincial party committee of North Hamgyong Province convened an emergency meeting of cadres in mid-July to discuss the matter of improving the party’s childcare policies.

A source in North Hamgyong Province told Daily NK on Thursday that on July 22, the provincial party held an emergency lecture meeting for leading officials and discussed measures to achieve the party’s childcare policies. 

Prior to this, the Central Committee issued a nationwide order on around July 20 calling on provincial authorities to “formulate and execute realistic measures” to address childhood malnutrition, and namely how underfed children are growing shorter on average. The source said the provincial party committee of North Hamgyong Province likewise convened an emergency meeting.

Attending by party officials and working-level experts, the meeting reportedly stressed the need for provincial elementary, middle and high schools, nurseries, ordinary kindergartens and daycare centers to accept party childcare policies “as a major project” and to come up with measures to achieve them.

The source said the party committee called on all officials to promote “innovation” in achieving the party’s childcare policies, learning from the accomplishments of late North Korean leader Kim Il Sung, who “sent his own blanket to ragged children on Mt. Ma-an and emptied the headquarters’ food supply to look after children to raise the future of the revolution.”

North Korean children / Image: Seokwang

According to the source, the meeting discussed the matter of feeding children goat milk by making full use of local goat farms, given that providing nutritional foodstuffs to children nationwide at state expense is a matter of party policy. 

Also discussed was making individual units purchase soybeans — “without fail” — for the production of soy milk when goat milk is in short supply, and prioritizing supplies to provincial foodstuff factories, including confectionaries.

The provincial party also said the most important goal was to normalize production and supply of high-quality milk products and children’s food products, reporting the results to the party. 

However, cadres who attended the meeting reportedly expressed frustration. “We have to produce and quickly supply milk and confections and report it to the party,” they said. “But how and what are we supposed to do with empty hands?”

The source said the cadres fretted that when orders like this are issued, you should pay for them by taxing the locals, a difficult task given the difficulties local residents are facing. However, if they ignore the order, they will be charged with the crime of refusing party policy.

Meanwhile, the Third Plenary Meeting of the Eighth Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea in mid-June discussed improvements of party childcare policy as its sixth agenda item.

At the meeting, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said that “no revolutionary work is more important than the bringing up of children, the future of the country, to be strong and sound and that it is the most important policy and supreme cherished desire of our Party and state to provide more improved conditions of bringing them up even at the cost of a huge sum of money.”

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Jong So Yong is one of Daily NK's freelance reporters. Questions about her articles can be directed to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.